The Edo State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC) on Tuesday said Comrade Adams Oshiomhole, national chairman of the party, was economical with the truth when he said that the party was not aware of Governor Godwin Obaseki’s preference for indirect primary.
He made the declaration following a closed-door meeting he held with seven members of the Progressives Governors’ Forum, led by Kebbi State governor, Atiku Bagudu.
Though the primary has been fixed for June 22, the Edo State chapter of the APC and the national leadership of the party are currently locked in a battle on the mode to be used in choosing the flag bearer.
While Edo APC, led by Anselm Ojezua, said it was adopting the indirect primary method for the emergence of the party’s flag bearer in the September 19, 2020 governorship election in the state, the NWC said it had adopted the direct primary option.
Speaking while addressing the governors, Oshiomhole said the governor’s preference for indirect primaries fell within the realm of speculation since the party was yet to be formally notified.
He noted further that the party’s decision to use direct primary remained sacrosanct because it aligned with the APC’s constitution.
“Obaseki is not here but issues of primaries are well spelt out in our constitution, and we are following it as strictly as possible.
“So, there’s nothing to worry about at all. You (reporters) are speculating; I don’t have any letter or document to that effect. These are very formal matters, so stop spreading rumours.”
However, speaking with Daily Independent, Anselm Ojezua, the Edo State chairman of the party, said it was not Obaseki’s duty to notify Oshiomhole.
Ojezua, who said Oshiomhole was being clever by half, added that it was the duty of the state executive to notify the party leadership, which had been done.
“It is not the governor’s duty to notify him. It is the party’s responsibility to do that. The governor is just a member of the state executive.
“I am the state chairman of the party. The state executive has communicated with him on the need for indirect primary. The man is being clever by half. It is not true that we have not notified him.
“The state executive committee has notified him and that is all that is required. It is not the governor that will do that,” he said.
In copies of letters sighted by our correspondent, the Edo State chapter of the party had written to the NWC, through the national chairman, on May 22, 2020.
The letter, which was stamped and acknowledged by one Temitope who also signed it on May 27, 2020 was titled: ‘Resolutions of the State Executive Committee on the Mode of Primary for the Impending Governorship Election’.
It read: “At the meeting of the State Executive Committee with the critical stakeholders of the party in Edo State today, the 22nd of May, 2020 and upon a motion moved by the State Assistant Youth Leader, Joseph Ohiafi, Esq. and seconded by the State Auditor, Hon. Timothy Osadolor, it was unanimously resolved that:
“Pursuant to the constitution of the All Progressives Congress (October 2014, as Amended) and in view of the authority conferred on us by the National Executive Committee of our party to choose any of the methods provided in the said constitution for the conduct of primaries in Edo State, and having regards to the prevailing circumstances in the state, to wit, the raging COVID-19 pandemic and the policies, protocols, and regulations put in place by government which emphasise social distancing, among other safety measures being painstakingly implemented in the state, we as members of the State Executive Committee of the All Progressives Congress, Edo State, together with other critical stakeholders whose signatures in affirmation are herewith attached, do unanimously choose and adopt the indirect primary method for use in nominating our candidate for the 2020 gubernatorial election in the state.”
The letter was jointly signed by the state executive, local government party chairmen, statutory delegates for primary and local government council chairmen.
Also yesterday, a frontline aspirant of the APC in Edo State, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, welcomed the entrance of other aspirants into the race to clinch the ticket of the party ahead of the governorship election in the state.
More persons have purchased the nomination forms to contest for the party’s ticket in its internal primary election scheduled for June 22.
In his reaction, Ize-Iyamu, speaking through a statement released by his campaign organisation and signed by Prince John Mayaki, the Director of Communication and Media, described the emergence of more aspirants as a welcome development that will strengthen the party’s internal democracy.
He said: “I welcome the entrance of my fellow party men into the contest for the governorship ticket of our great party, the All Progressives Congress.
“As I have said before, I remain resolute on the fact that we are all driven by a shared desire of developing Edo State, improving the standards of living of our people, and offering a better alternative to an incumbent that has failed our party and state.”
Also yesterday, a political group in Ondo State, the Unity Mandate Agenda, said Oshiomhole had compromised with his endorsement of Governor Rotimi Akeredolu for another term.
The group, in a statement signed by its Coordinator, Comrade Babatope Abisola, said Oshiomhole’s public endorsement of Akeredolu looked like an easy ride to another term in office.